Growing Lavender Plants And Their Use

Growing and using in potpourri's and other craft projects.

Lavender can be a lovely addition to any garden, not only does it smell wonderful, it is also very attractive when in bloom. Lavandula Angustifolia is the proper name for this perennial that is noted for it's gray foliage and purple flower heads. Many varieties of lavender will grow 2 to 3 feet tall.

Lavender plants love direct sun and well drained soil, if need be add some sand to the soil around your plants to ensure proper drainage. This also will make a wonderful plant for container gardening. Lavender plants also will need to be pruned back either in early spring, or late fall after harvesting.

With so many varieties of lavender plants available, you will need to check with your nursery or County Extension Office to see which types will be appropriate for your climate. Some lavender is susceptible to frost damage, others are not. It is also a good idea to add several new lavender plants to your garden yearly, some types of plants will only live for 2 to 3 years, so a varied planting stage will make certain that you will always have some of these plants in your garden.

To harvest lavender for drying, it is best to choose stems that only have two or three opened flower buds, the rest will open during the drying process. Be sure to cut your lavender stems just after the dew is off of them, if you wait until later in the day, the heat will dispel the essential oils in the stems. The essential oil is what gives the lavender it's scent.

Group your lavender together in small bunches and tie together, if your grouping is too large, the dampness may make your bunches mold instead of dry. Hang the bunches upside down in a warm, dark place for a week or so, until dry.

Here are several potpourris that you can make using dried lavender.

LAVENDER POTPOURRI

1 ½ cups lavender buds

2 teaspoons dried patchouli leaves

1 cup pink statice

1 teaspoon whole cloves

2 cups dried burgundy colored flowers

1 cup dried blue flowers

1 cup dried pink flowers

2 teaspoons dried rosemary

2 teaspoons dried peppermint leaves

2 cups dried blue larkspur

1 cinnamon stick, broken

1 cup dried rose petals

6 drops of cinnamon oil

Combine all the ingredients in a large zip top plastic bag. Shake to mix. Let this mixture cure for at least two weeks, shaking every other day to combine the scents.

MINTY POTPOURRI

3 cups dried peppermint leaves and flowers

3 cups dried mint leaves and flowers

1 ½ cup dried lavender leaves and flowers

1 cup each dried red and pink peony petals

2 cups each dried pink and red rose petals

2 cups dried green moss

60 drops peppermint oil

20 drops rosemary oil

8 drops lavender oil

In a large zip top plastic bag, place your flower petals and leaves. Seal the bag and shake gently to mix. In a glass jar, combine the moss and the oils. Place the lid on the jar, and let it sit for about a week, shake this every day.

Next add the moss to the zip top plastic bag, and shake gently to mix. Let this sit for 3 to 4 weeks, shaking gently every few days.

This craft idea makes a very interesting picture using a bunch of lavender, an inexpensive picture frame, and some chicken wire.

1 purchased 9 x 12, inexpensive wooden frame, you will not need any glass, so you can even purchase this at a flea market or yard sale.

A piece of chicken wire slightly larger than the opening in the frame

A bunch of lavender, either fresh or dried

Raffia or ribbon to make a bow

If you need to repaint your frame, sand slightly, then repaint to match your decor. For a more rustic look, after the paint has dried, sand slightly to remove some of the paint, then stain the frame.

Place the chicken wire on the back of the frame, trim if needed using wire cutters, then using a staple gun or small tacks, attach the wire to the back of the frame. You will need to stretch this tightly so no ripples or bumps appear in your wire.



Next take the bunch of lavender and tie to the front, center of the wire, using the raffia or ribbon.

Lastly hang on your wall. Not only is this an attractive wall hanging, it also smells wonderful, particularly if the lavender is fresh.

The next craft idea for using lavender, is a braided heart. These make an lovely little wall hanging, or they can be set just about anywhere for a little color and wonderful scent.

For this you will need,

35 to 40 stems, 15 inches long of fresh lavender, dried will not work for this

cotton string

2 inches of 3/8 ribbon

2/3 yard of ½ inch ribbon

2/3 yard of 7/8 inch ribbon

hot glue

For the ribbon, I would suggest something that will compliment the lavender, or even your decor.

First you will need to strip the leaves from the stems, and trim the stems to an even length. Take 30 of the stems and divide them into two groups of 15 each. Tie each group together tightly, just below the flower heads, using your cotton string.

Now, doing one bunch at a time, divide the 15 stems into three groups of five and braid them together. After the braiding is completed tie off with the string. Next, tie the two bunches together, at the bottom (the stem end). Carefully bend each bunch around and into a heart shape, crossing the flower heads, before attaching. Tie this together just above the flower heads. (The bottom of the stems will be at the top, and the crossed flower heads at the bottom of your heart)

Using the remaining lavender stems, group these together into a bunch. Lay the bunch against the heart, trim the stems so that the flower heads are between the curves of the top of the heart. Trim the stems of the bunch even with the tie that is holding the bottom of the heart together. Cut the small piece of 3/8 inch ribbon in half, wrap one half around the stems in the bunch of lavender, to hold them together. Use the hot glue on the backside of the ribbon, to hold the ends together.

With the second piece of ribbon, place this just below the first piece of ribbon, attaching the entire heart and bunch together. Hot glue the ends of this in place also, on the back of your project.

Using the last two pieces of ribbon, layer the narrower ribbon on top, and tie this into a bow at the base of the heart, attaching the heart and the stems together. If desired place a small amount of hot glue, under the stems and on top of the heart for a little extra support.

Not only can lavender be used in the projects mentioned here, but a small amount of snipped lavender will look and smell wonderful in a small open container, placed almost anywhere. Or make a small sachet using lavender, to place in your drawers or closet, to keep your clothes or linens smelling wonderful. This is just a small sampling of what lavender has to offer, grow some of your own, for these and other wonderful craft projects.

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